June 28 marks a half-century since the Stonewall uprisings catapulted the queer liberation movement. As we honor the legacy of our queer elders, we present to you a list of books geared toward the generation ahead. Celebrate Pride Month with five LGBTQ+ of color-focused titles for young adults—or for yourself!
“All of Us With Wings,” by Michelle Ruiz Keil (Soho Teen)
Xochi, a 17-year-old queer Mexican-American teenager, runs away from home to San Francisco, where she moves in with a pair of polyamorous rockstars and their 12-year-old daughter. On the night of an equinox, the two girls summon a pair of water creatures that seek vengeance against those who have harmed Xochi, including a past sexual abuser. Michelle Ruiz Keil uses brujería, fantasy and multiple points of view to tell this coming-of-age story about queer love, survival and chosen family.
“If It Makes You Happy,” by Claire Kann (Macmillan Press)
Winnie, an 18-year-old, unapologetically fat, queer and Black teenager, spends the summer working at her grandmother’s diner in a small town called Misty Haven. After she is chosen to be the Summer Queen in an annual festival, Winnie must fulfill the social obligations that come with the honor, all while dealing with her queerplatonic relationship, her all-time crush and everyone else’s misperceptions about her body.
“Kings, Queens and In-Betweens,” by Tanya Boteju (Simon Pulse)
Author and former drag king Tanya Boteju presents the coming-of-age story of Nima, a Sri Lankan-American lesbian teenager finding her place within a richly diverse and affirming queer community. Feeling awkward and invisible in school, Nima spends the summer immersing herself in the drag scene and exploring her gender fluidity.
“Like A Love Story,” by Abdi Nazemian (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)
At the height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, Reza, an Iranian closeted teen, moves to New York City to live with his mother. Tormented by media images of men dying from the disease, Reza is terrified to come out as gay. After he befriends two kids at school, they all become entrenched in AIDS activism, revealing the devastating racial disparities in healthcare access—and the legacy of queer communities who fought back.
“Shout Out,” by B.C. Holmes, Andrew Wheeler and Joamette Gil (TO Comix Press)
This sweeping anthology includes works by comics of color. The fantasy and science fiction stories within feature characters who are two-spirit, asexual, transgender, gender-nonconforming, lesbian, gay and bisexual.
*Article has been updated to include B.C. Holmes in the credits for “Shout Out.”